David Loftus

Sweet Potato Candy. From oca to mashua, tocosh to olluco, and chuño to any other of the many Peruvian potatoes, tubers in the Andes can make great desserts. Sweet potato is especially delicious and versatile. This camotillo is a traditional recipe that is served during festivals, at home and from street stalls across the country. Aim for the texture of soft marzipan.


Quantity Ingredient
500g sweet potatoes
150g caster sugar
or 80g yacon syrup
1 orange, zested
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon hundreds and thousands
coconut or vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Roast the sweet potatoes in their skins, for about 45 minutes if small, longer if they are larger, until the flesh is soft (the long cooking time will help to dry them out well). Remove the potatoes from the oven and when they are cool enough to handle, peel and mash the flesh to a smooth purée.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C.
  4. Weigh the sweet potato flesh and put it in a saucepan. Add half the weight of the sweet potatoes in sugar or a quarter of the weight in yacon syrup, along with the orange zest and cinnamon. Cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes until the sugar (if using) has dissolved, then cook for 20 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of puréed potato. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. Spoon the cooled sweet potato mixture into a piping bag. Pipe lozenges the size of dates onto a nonstick baking tray, continuing until you have used up all the mixture. Alternatively, use a dessert spoon to make quenelles.
  6. Place on a baking tray and bake until the mixture has set round the edges but is still soft and squidgy in the middle (about 25–30 minutes). Remove the sweet potato candies from the oven and while they are still warm, sprinkle with the hundreds and thousands. You can eat them warm or cold on their own, or serve them warm with coconut or vanilla ice cream.
Martin Morales
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